Saturday, December 14, 2013

Affluenza (abuse from poor parenting) successfully used as excuse in drunk driving murder

Time Magazine    Is bad parenting an excuse for murder?

That’s what Scott Brown, attorney for Ethan Couch and an expert witness psychologist, implied when he used the term “affluenza” to argue against intoxication manslaughter and assault charges for his client. Couch, 16, was on trial after he stole beer from a Walmart last summer, got drunk at a party, and gunned his car into four victims who had stopped on the side of a Burleson, Tex. road to help a stranded motorist. All four died, and both passengers in Couch’s pickup truck who were riding in the open bed were tossed from the vehicle; one is unable to move or talk due to brain injuries.

But even though Couch was behind the wheel, it wasn’t he, argued psychologist G. Dick Miller, who should bear the burden of punishment for the tragedy. Instead, it was his parents, who raised their boy with few limits and even less discipline, indulging him to the point where he was unable to appreciate the importance of rules and laws, not to mention the consequences of breaking them.

Brown and Miller may have twisted the term a bit – affluenza more often refers to overconsumption and materialism, or the general psychological malaise, lack of motivation and guilt that wealthy young people feel as a result of their extreme privilege. Brown and Miller took it further, to incorporate the lack of accountability and belief among entitled rich kids that money can solve all problems.

Their definition placed the blame at the feet of Couch’s parents, who, according to CNN, allowed their son to drink at age 13. “There are certain things that society expects from parents in terms of providing for their children,” says Dr. Cindy Christian, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on child abuse and neglect. “Children need physical things – food, clothing, shelter and education. And they need nurturing, love and discipline. Parents are responsible for teaching their children right from wrong.”

Couch’s defense argued that his parents did not fulfill this responsibility adequately; could that be considered neglect, or even abuse? “If you think of what children need, and what parents are supposed to be providing, then yes, theoretically you could make the argument that [such parenting] is neglectful,” says Christian, who chairs the child abuse and neglect prevention program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. [...]

1 comment :

  1. Lo Tirtzach is a criteria that even if not taught, it is something that seichel dictates that it is wrong. No such thing as Tinok shenishbo on that. See kayin that murdered his brother Hevel, also in Talmud.


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